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THE AMAZING BONE, Lifeline Theatre. Eric Lane Barnes supplies the script and songs for Lifeline's delightful offering for children or adults, and Curt Columbus's staging of William Steig's fantasy for children is equally hip. The story, about a life-loving piglet named Pearl and an amazing talking Bone, is sure to resonate with kids, while Barnes's clever lyrics, hilarious rhymes, and doo-wop harmonies will please taller folks. Bone is the perfect imaginary friend for Pearl--except that it's real. Multilingual, magical, and resourceful, Bone rewards her for her belief, coping with robbers and a hungry fox and finally teaching Pearl's parents the crucial lesson that everything Pearl says is true.

Tamara Yates Walker plays bumptious Pearl with contagious enthusiasm, a perfect surrogate for kids as she throws herself into the make-believe "Pig & Bone Show." Kathleen Puls manipulates Cathy McCullough's expressive Bone puppet with aplomb, while Michael Annetta plays the not-so-wily Fox like a vaudeville trouper. Barnes's witty pastiche bubbles with such novelty numbers as Fox's snobbish song about foxes' superiority to wolves and a calypso celebration of the joy of eating (not pleasant at the time for Pearl, who faces the prospect of becoming roast pork).

Even if you don't have an actual child, your inner kid should find The Amazing Bone entertaining.

--Lawrence Bommer

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